Building student life from the ground up
Assistant Director of Residential Life Tea Bogue resigned from her position in early April to accept a job at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCIA). Bogue has been with the College for 15 years, and is one of the most-loved employees on campus.
The Quaker Campus sat down with Bogue to talk about her next adventure and what she will miss most about Whittier.
Madison White (MW): What is your new position?
Tea Bogue (TB): I’m going to be a Student Services Specialist at the Southern California Institute of Architecture. It’s located in the Art’s District of L.A. and, basically, they have no student life department, so I’m building and functioning as their student life. I’m very excited. I love building programs.
MW: So, they do not have dorms?
TB: They have no housing, so I won’t be on call, which is exciting.
MW: This is the first time in 15 years you have not had to be on call [on a regular basis]?
MW: That is amazing; what are you going to do with your free time?
TB: I don’t know, swim — I’m house hunting, so I’m hoping to have a pool.
MW: You are not going to live on campus —
TB: There is no campus. There’s one building; that’s where everything is. It’s 500 students. Professors have to be practicing architects. It’s interesting.
MW: Is this an older student demographic?
TB: There are some that come in at like 18 – 19, but they are usually older. Not necessarily 25 [and] older, but usually 20 – 21. They have a bachelors program and a master’s program that they offer.
MW: What is the first thing that you are going to do there?
TB: I’m not really sure. I’m going next Friday to watch their final presentations. It’s very interesting; there’s a pretty big punk vibe. The school started in the ‘50s – ‘60s; there was a population of students [and] faculty who were upset that schools were not teaching architecture as an art. They were only teaching it as a science and so they rebelled and started this school.
That punk vibe is still a big part of the school and its culture. They do things differently than other schools, and I think they do it intentionally. Actually, the people that will present next Friday are the juniors, and they’re not the ones that are graduating. The ones who are graduating will be presenting in September, and their commencement is in September. It’s all year round — a lot of differences like that.
MW: What prompted you to start looking for other positions?
TB: I have been here for a long time, and one of the reasons I have stayed here for so long is the people I have worked with are amazing. We have grown together and we have fun together. Work is nice when you have fun. Being at Whittier has allowed me to wear so many hats. Every year, things have been different. We were always busy, but we were having fun, so being busy wasn’t a big deal.
I think I’m just ready for a change. I’ve been ready for a change for the past couple of years; but wasn’t really actively searching and had kind of stopped searching this year when I got the phone call from them. The thing is, when I walked into this school, my soul was happy. The interview went really well, but it didn’t feel like an interview. It just felt like me talking to two different people there. They said they’d be in touch, and, as I came home, I was like, “I think I really want this job.” It just kind of worked out.
MW: What is the number one thing you will take away from your time at Whittier?
TB: I think one of the best things I’ve learned from this job is that I can handle just about any sort of circumstance without any panic. Being on call, specifically, has helped with these incidents that you never even dreamed were possible, and, all of a sudden, you’re the first person getting called, and you have to respond and make decisions. No matter what situation I’m in, I know everything is going to be okay.
The other thing is [that] I love our community. I love how many different types of people live in this community together, and I think that’s what I’m going to miss the most. I’m never going to be in an apartment building with people from seven different countries.